Baba Oloja and Secretary of Sango Garage Market in Ogun State, Alhaji Sakiru Olasege and Apostle Sunday Ajayi, have debunked the claim in some quarters that traders within the garage attacked the customsmen who snuffed life out of a young girl, Angela Kadiri, a food seller, as they chased some alleged smugglers.
The duo said they did not constitute ant hinderance to the customsmen.
“None of the consignments being seized by the customs belong to the market. Why then would we constitute a hindrance to them? Aside from that, they are on their legitimate duty, if we fall victims of their seizure, the best we would do is to plead with them, not to resort to fighting them,” they said.
It was a black Monday for traders at the popular Sango Garage on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway in Ogun State as a bullet from a customs man’s rifle blew off the head of the young Angela. Also hit by the customs’ bullets were a bus driver, a conductor and a lady selling clothing at the entrance of the garage but they were all lucky.
The deceased, Angela, whose age was put at about 20 and who hailed from Benue State, fell to the Customsman’s bullet in front of a food canteen, where she worked as an attendant.
Surakat Adeniyi, the driver of a commercial bus, marked XR 351 LSR, suffered a gun shot wound as the bullet penetrated through the vender to hit his two legs.
Others injured in the accident included Mrs. Blessing Igwemadu, 22, who suffered a scratch on the forehead from a bullet, a bus conductor, whose name was simply given as Taofeek, who was hit at the back, while his bus windows were shattered.
Investigations conducted by our reporter showed that operatives of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), attached to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Ikeja, Lagos were chasing a truck and several cars, bearing allegedly smuggled rice, when they shot to scare the occupants of the vehicles. The consignments were said to have been successfully seized intially.
It was gathered that while the operatives made the seizure at Ilaro axis of the state and assembled same at Joju, in Sango area, for a final move in convoy to Ikeja, two notorious smugglers, simply known as Ope and Omo Iya Aje, whose consignments were among the seized, ostensibly with some certain magical powers, became furious at the seizure and ordered their drivers to board their cars and leave the spot.
According to our source, about 17 of the intercepted cars, fully loaded with rice, were driven away by the smugglers unchallenged, which, the source added, was the reason the operatives got angry and resorted to indiscriminate shootings as soon as they got to the Sango Garage, another rice depot.
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Olumiyiwa Adejobi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), declined to comment on the incident when contacted by WESTERN POST. But the PRO, FOU Ikeja said the Controller Federal Operations Unit Zone A, Turaki Usman Adamu, had directed a full scale investigation into the incident.
“However, the massive seizure has been deposited at the Government warehouse area of the unit, where physical examination revealed a large quantity of prohibited good. I will oblige you with further details in terms of duty paid value. Investigation regarding issue of casualties is still ongoing and we promise to make report public.”